Saturday 3 December 2016

Banks not bound by our prior tracker rulings - Ombudsman

Published 20/03/2016 | 02:30

Ombudsman Ger Deering. Picture: Patrick Browne
Ombudsman Ger Deering. Picture: Patrick Browne

Financial Services Ombudsman Ger Deering has written to the chief executives of the country's banks to state that his office's previous decisions should not prevent wronged tracker mortgage customers getting redress.

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The withholding of tracker mortgages from customers who were entitled to them is suspected to have taken place at many banks during the financial crisis, costing consumers thousands. The Central Bank is currently probing the matter.

Many aggrieved mortgage customers complained to the Financial Services Ombudsman over the years, who in most cases dismissed their complaint.

Figures previously provided to the Sunday Independent by former Ombudsman Bill Prasifka revealed that 73pc of the 848 tracker complaints received by the Ombudsman between April 2009 and June 2013 were not upheld.

"I have written to all of the CEOs of the banks telling them that I believe everybody who has had a complaint before this office should not be treated any differently by virtue of having a complaint here," said Deering.

"There is no mechanism to reverse [the Ombudsman's previous decisions]. They will stand. But that does not stop, in my view, a bank from implementing their redress scheme. There is nothing to stop a bank putting someone back on a tracker, irrespective of what decision they got from here."

In the past 12 months both PTSB and AIB admitted to incorrectly withholding trackers from some customers during the recession. PTSB said some people lost their homes as a result, while AIB recently set aside €102m to cover the cost of tracker redress.

Sunday Indo Business

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